Ideas – What to do in 2018!

Now the new year is well and truly here, I’ve decided to get booking up some events to go along to which will hopefully help me develop my photography skills and knowledge…

The first is an attempt to learn a bit more about studio lighting techniques.. I’ve booked to go along to a ‘Going Digital’ workshop (link below…)

https://www.goingdigital.co.uk/photography-workshops/studio-portrait-courses

The content looks very thorough so I hope to learn the theory and get hands on with the kit – I hope this will also give me a bit of a push with getting into my portraiture again…

Capture

BrentStirtonMy other plan is to visit Birmingham (again) to see one of my favourite photographers, Brent Stirton talk about his wildlife/campaign photography and the impact it has made. A link to the event is here:- https://www.photographyshow.com/whats-on/programme/super-stage

Project – John Claridge’s East End

I joined up with a ‘Meetup’ group to take some shots around the Roman Road part of the East End, on market day, Saturday 2 December. I shamefacedly admitted to not knowing about John Claridge before the day but I learnt more from the organiser during the day and read further about him afterwards also.

John Claridge began photographing as a teenager in the East End of London in the 1960s. He took ‘gritty’ and heavily contrasted photographs of the characters he lived alongside and he used his imagery to document the demise of the corner shops and sense of declining ‘local community’.

Some of his images are shown below:-

The task was to try and replicate some of the atmosphere that Claridge achieved in this photographs. I wasn’t particularly successful but 2 of the images I’m quite pleased with are shown below:-

Meetup - Gorilla

The ‘gorilla’ shot made me smile. It was a bitingly cold day and ape head just about summed up how I was feeling. Clearly the mask makes this shot, but the market background was in some ways equally worthy of a photograph, with gawdy second-hand sofas strewn around the market pavements random road signs…

Meetup - Layla
This image is probably more ‘Claridge’. This lovely but formidable lady, Layla, at 84 years old, was an ex NHS worker who used to work at Hackney hospital. She was sprightly for her age and a die-hard Eastender now, despite hailing from the Caribbean originally.

Overall, an interesting day learning about another photographer but a style that’s now quite difficult to replicate given how our cities have been gentrified to the hilt.

Assignment 5 – Tutor Feedback

I was extremely happy with the final feedback I received from my tutor for the last assignment. Having wrestled a bit with finding a suitable idea for the photograph, I was pleased it worked out, especially when I received the following feedback:-

The final image shows real planning with attention to portraying the story – with the sourcing and including Vegemite. The image is accomplished and you have absorbed both technical and aesthetic principles from your study of Crewdson. 

My tutor also pointed out the awful perspective distortion which I had neglected to rectify. I love using my wide-angle zoom but sometimes forget the effect it causes. As part of the final submission I have corrected it using the functionality within Lightroom which was quick to do.

My tutor also advised me to write interim posts for assignments ahead of writing up the final submission. I have made a mental note for future courses to catalogue the sequence of generating ideas.  I think I achieved this best for Assignment 2, but it fell by the wayside for other assignments.

I had also added personal projects to the blog which was well received by my tutor. These have been haphazard to say the least over the duration of the last year or so, but I’m now picking up the pace again and getting more and more motivated.

I spoke with my tutor about the issue of timing and being able to squeeze in my third level 2 course before the deadline (having spent so many months on this course). I am determined to achieve this and she suggested overlapping with finalising for the assessment with starting the next module and this was good advice having also checked the deadline dates again with the OCA office. I can’t wait to start the next module now!

Exhibition – Wim Wenders’ ‘Polaroids’

The best things about visiting the film director, Wim Wenders’ ‘Polaroids’ exhibition were the accompanying narratives which for me, really captured the essence of the Polaroid:-

untitled (1 of 8)It was the first time it had really occurred to me that the Polaroid was very unique in that the image couldn’t be reproduced, unlike film negatives, slides etc.  Every image we create today can be distributed in a multiplicity of formats; prints, as images on websites, canvases, cups, T-shirts… etc. It gives a very real meaning to the term ‘decisive moment’. Also, Wenders’ choice of subject matter echoed my first adventures in photography as a teenager – taking pictures of the TV just to see what the picture would come out like,  taking photos of food etc., but also he branched out with his Polaroid to try some ‘arty’ effects, like he image below of the reflections off a rainy street:-

I didn’t stay long at the exhibition because each photograph on its own wasn’t really something to dwell on for minutes and digest or read a deep meaning into, it was more a journey of the different types of subjects that Wenders progressed to use his Polaroid with. The most striking visual in the exhibition was two video screens adjacent to each other, both playing repetitious videos which reminded me of a dark Coen Brothers film; Wenders rhythmically taking image after image on his Polaroid, the scene in a seedy pool club bathed in eerie green-hued striplight, the table strewn with Polaroid images:-

The final poem I read at the exhibition summed up perfectly the era in which the Polaroid was born, and the magic that it had given it’s users:-

untitled (8 of 8)

 

Assignment 4 – Tutor Feedback

I was pleased overall with the feedback that I received for this assignment. My tutor had written some ideas to improve on the submission including:-

In the assignment, you describe the chosen image clearly. For the exercise in the course, you annotated a picture to help describe it. If you did this technique before writing the essay, it would be good to upload this as part of a blog post for the assignment.

Truthfully, I was NOT disciplined enough to write notes against the image, however I did look again at the image more recently and carried out the exercise in case I could spot anything else in the photograph that I had neglected to include. I have included this as a blog post.

It is clear you have undertaken some research into the photograph. Can you ensure that you reference your sources… You make a comparison to an overhead war image, again include this image (or a link) in a blog post alongside the finished essay.

As time went on in the course this and I was cramming in the final work in between NHS work and house renovation work, I’m afraid this fell by the wayside. I have now added the sources I used for the essay.  For the war image, I decided to include this in the essay itself as it seemed to complement what I was saying better to be included, rather than have it as a separate post.

I also came across an article in the Guardian which showcased some other more modern aerial perspective sports images. I added a blog describing the images from the article which specifically appealed to me, and why they did, after my assignment was submitted.

My tutor also gave me more general advice about the course assessment and suggested:-

  1. Top up the Ideas, Projects and Reading tabs (I subsequently updated these areas of the blog with a few personal photographic assignments) and some ideas for places I would like to photograph in the future;
  2. Use the blog more as a journal to document the learning aspect of the course and provide shorter but more frequent blogs. I will take this forward for the remainder of the course and certainly into future courses if I progress.

She also referred me to another website which had chronicled how the Leifer photograph was taken – within the Time 100 best photographs. I read the article with interest.

Assignment 4 – Postscript

Having enjoyed reading about the Neil Leifer aerial photograph of Muhammad Ali, I came across an article in the Guardian which showcased the best sports-related aerial photography. I thought several of the images were outstanding:-

swimmers
Swimmers contest the world’s biggest ocean race, the Cole Classic, from Shelly Beach to Manly Beach in Sydney, Australia, in 2010.
Photograph Steve Christo for Getty @Images

This image is akin to an Attenborough-witnessed fish feeding frenzy as the white splashes of the swimmers surge forward through the water. It almost dimishes the humans in the image to tiny microbes which combine to form a much stronger force, pushing forward over the ocean. I think its a beautiful image and the tiny coloured dots of the swimmers caps add additional interest.

skimarathon
Cross country skiers during the 2012 Engadin Skimarathon near St Moritz, Switzerland. Photograph by Arnd Wiegmann for Reuters.

The apparent blizzard of snow falling on top of the skiers has rendered this photograph almost like a painting. The criss-cross of the skis as the skiers clamber their way along the course give the image a rhythm and texture. The tiny limbs put me in mind of Lowry’s famous stick-men characters.

horserace
Thailand’s Nina Lamsam Ligon, on Butts Leon, rides past spectators as she competes in the evening competition at the 2012 London Olympics in Greenwich Park. Photograph by Adrian Dennis, for Getty Images.

The shadows provide all the story in this photograph as you can only actually see a small part of the human’s and horse’s head and torsos. I like the rhythm of the standing spectators, some poised and ready with their cameras, and the feeling of speed generated by the horse’s flared tail as it gallops along the course. The curl of the horse’s legs capture is timing perfection.

serena
Serena Williams winning the 2010 Australian Open. Photograph from Back Page Images/Rex/Shutterstock.

This is a photograph I remember seeing at the time it was taken. It has a very strange perspective and almost looks as if Serena Williams is velcro’d to a wall together with her tennis racquet which seems suspended in mid air (given the shadow). The white lines are forming compartments in the image for the subjects to be ‘thown’ into. The colours are striking and its an altogether joyful victorious image.

With the ever-increasing use of drone technology these types of images are going to become common place for sport photography and it will be interesting to see if the fine art leaning of some the images also becomes equally as widespread.

Source

Bloor, S. (2018) Hitting the Heights : Sports Photography from above : In pictures. At https://www.theguardian.com/sport/gallery/2018/jan/04/hitting-the-heights-sport-from-above-in-pictures?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Email (accessed 22 January 2018)